The RoundUp

May 2022

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Last Call for Presenter Applications!

We have extended the deadline to apply to present at Mix and Mingle. The theme for 2022 is all about reconnecting, reigniting, renewing, and reinventing. We want to kick off the school year with an inspiring and impactful day led by both experts in their field and educators that are having success in the classroom. Consider applying to present at this IN PERSON event on August 24, 2022. The deadline to apply has been extended until May 6.

Elementary Literacy Updates

The Power of Pause

Pause….The power of a pause can be helpful for your students as they often race to complete work. They may work fast and often make mistakes because they are rushing to get started or finish early. Pausing helps students slow down, think about the task, and get organized before taking action or preparing to participate. The “pause procedure” (Ruhl, Hughes & Schloss, 1987; Bachhel & Thaman, 2014) is an approach that integrates pauses at strategic times during instruction to promote greater student engagement. The pauses should stimulate and assist students to comprehend and process course material. This article highlights the importance of pausing (wait time) for our multilingual learners.

Pause…Professional Communities are born and nurtured in webs of conversation. Cognitive science tells us that learning is socially constructed and individually integrated: learning therefore requires engaging with other learners and is an active process for all involved. Allow yourself to pause, listen, reflect and enjoy the journey as you learn alongside and from your colleagues. (Adaptive Schools: 2019 by Thinking Collaborative )

Pause…Most importantly, pause and reflect on the hard work and successes both you and students have accomplished this school year. So many times we want more for our students and have endless expectations for ourselves. Pause and reflect not only on student growth but on your growth as a teacher, colleague and lifelong learner. “Behind every student success story is a staff member that championed for that student.” -Jimmy Casas

Take some time to check out Essential School-Wide and Center-Wide Practices in Literacy. While doing so, consider how the purpose of this document crosses over to the bigger picture of systems and structures that need to be in place for effective outcomes.
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Secondary Literacy Updates

This past school year, a CLEP Testing Center was opened at VB Tech. Information about CLEP has been shared with secondary principals, curriculum directors, and counselors. The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) helps you receive college credit for what you already know, for a fraction of the cost of a college course. Additionally, VBISD is not charging a testing center fee if you choose our site for a test.

There are multiple ways for students and adults to take advantage of CLEP. Please check out the following resources for additional information:

*Basic CLEP Overview

*CLEP One-Pager (Slide One is for current students and Slide Two is for high school graduates or people with a high school equivalency)

*AP Second Chance

*Video of Destiny Cramer, a paraeducator at Paw Paw Public Schools, sharing her CLEP experience

Please contact Geanice Miller at or 269-271-9813 with questions or for assistance in registering for a CLEP Test.

Summing Up Math

What are math manipulatives and why are they important? Hear from some of your colleagues around the county in this video!

English Learners Spotlight

EL Consultant Spotlight

Diana Rodriguez has worked at the Van Buren ISD for twenty-three years. Diana earned her undergraduate degree at Western Michigan University in Elementary Education and also her Master's Degree in Early Childhood. She later attended Cornerstone University where she earned an ESL endorsement in K-12. Diana has worked with English Learners and Migrant students in several of our school districts. She currently works in Paw Paw, Gobles and Lawrence school districts. She previously helped out in Covert for a short period, and was placed in Decatur for the first eighteen years of her teaching ESL and migrant students. She has helped students with college visits, filling out FAFSA, and finding scholarships. She also co-taught a newcomers program for several years. While she has had many highlights throughout her career, the most recent was writing a recommendation letter for a former student applying for her Master's Degree at Western Michigan University. Not only was she a former student, but she is also a current Van Buren ISD Employee. Her passion is building relationships with her students and families.

Diana Rodriguez


  • The WIDA Screener for Kindergarten Webinar is now available on the WIDA Data Portal (log-in required).

  • ALL staff that will be administering the screener will need to complete the modules. The new screener should be used for students entering Kindergarten for the 2022-23 school year.

Please reach out if you have any questions or need help planning PD to review WIDA scores.

Angie Gutierrez-Administrator of Whole Child Services

SIOP Training Resources

All resources referenced in the recent county-wide professional development day are located in this Google Folder for your future reference. If you have any questions about any of the ideas, or would like to explore any of the content further, please contact:

Social Emotional Learning

Creating Safe Connections and Rituals allows us to communicate to our students:

  • I see you...
  • I hear you...
  • I value you!

Creating classroom rituals is a great way to increase that safe connection. See the photo below for an easy list to consider.

TRAILS in Progress...

We've gathered some great feedback from our partners implementing direct TRAILS SEL Instruction. Check out their feedback here.

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